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How To Give Advice

Whether someone has asked for your opinion, or you just feel like sharing your wisdom, make sure your good intentions don't backfire.


  • Step 1: Precede your words of wisdom with something like, "I'd never presume to give you advice, but…" This protects you from any fallout, because you can rightly insist that you never intended for them to act on your words.
  • Step 2: Whatever you say, be tactful. Not only is it kinder, but it increases the chances that the person will actually heed your counsel.
  • FACT: Did you know? Forty-nine percent of Americans surveyed follow the health and nutrition advice they find on the internet, even though only 34 percent believe it's true.
  • Step 3: When you're giving advice, avoid prefacing it with anecdotes from your own life, which switches the focus to you and away from the person with the dilemma.
  • TIP: Listen carefully to the other person.
  • Step 4: Think about whether you're qualified to comment. If not, recommend someone who is.
  • Step 5: Consider the consequences of counseling them. Don't suggest anything that might cost them a relationship, money, their job, or anything else serious.
  • Step 6: Make sure the person wants your advice. Just because someone is sharing a problem doesn't mean they want you to tell them how to fix it.

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